Lucrative side jobs in 2022 take less than 15 hours a week

It’s too early to dub 2022 the year of secondary hustle: Research shows that more Americans are likely to start their own business in 2023.

Two in five Americans created or maintained at least one additional source of income in 2022, according to an investigation of Harris Poll and workflow integration company Zapier. That’s a 6% increase from December 2020, a load mostly driven by millennials and Gen Z, the same survey added.

These millennials and Gen Z might need the cash. Nearly half of them “live paycheck to paycheck and fear they won’t be able to cover their expenses.” a 2022 Deloitte survey Noted.

Side hustles can sometimes be just as exhausting as a full-time job, but they don’t have to be. Last year, CNBC Make It spoke with several people who made up to millions of dollars a year. Eight of them worked less than 20 hours a week to do this.

Analyzing them, a few themes emerge. Here are four of the most lucrative and less time-consuming side businesses that have gained momentum in the past year:

online education

You might have skills that other people want to learn. Social media has proven to be an effective way to teach them and earn money doing it.

In 2020, Kat Norton was living with her parents when she launched Miss Excel, a TikTok account aimed at teaching followers tips and tricks about spreadsheets. After a few weeks, she hit 100,000 and then started selling more Excel courses on her website.

She quit her job in January 2021 after starting to earn more from her hustling than from her role as a full-time management consultant. Today, Miss Excel earns around $2 million a year and Norton only works four hours a day.

Graham Cochrane has a similar story: he lost his job as a sound engineer in 2009 at the age of 26. He and his wife relied on savings and food stamps while he attempted to start his own production company.

Later that year, he started a music blog called The Recording Revolution which taught subscribers the ins and outs of the music industry. He has expanded his reach with YouTube videos and online courses.

These courses continue to be successful, but his second business, which “teaches people how to monetize their knowledge and passions like I did”, is how he earns most of his income. He now earns $160,000 a month for working five hours a week.

Real estate

Renting real estate usually comes with a high upfront cost – buying and setting up a property can be expensive – but it can provide a steady stream of income for just a few hours of work each week.

Wedding photographers Adriana Krause and Stephan Alvin spent about $487,000 buying and renovating homes near their two families: Alvin in California and Krause in Rio de Janeiro. Krause and Alvin, a married couple, spend about six months of the year in each house while renting out the other.

In just five weeks of listing their cabin in Oakhurst, Calif., they brought in $13,000. The couple now only spend about an hour a week managing bookings, they say.

Even small properties can be effective investments in the right places: Hawaii native Kehau room spent $8,000 setting up an Airbnb tent near a local volcano that now earns him $28,000 a year, for example. She works 10-15 hours a week managing, cleaning and verifying reservations.

Vending machine

You might be surprised to learn how lucrative vending machines are for their owners. Some of these owners are too.

Before Covid hits, quinn miller was making $240,000 a year working for an ad-tech startup in California. Then his customers disappeared and he struggled to meet his sales quota. After reading on Twitter that desktop vending machines could provide passive income, he bought two for a total of $5,000.

It took him months to make the business profitable. Now he spends six hours a week running 57 vending machines, earning him an average of $30,000 a month, his full-time job.

Marcus Gram has a similar story: He wanted to create passive income, and after his friend saw a woman pull wads of cash from an ATM, he knew where to start.

In 2018 he moved from Rochester, New York to Philadelphia and bought two vending machines. He only made $5,000 the first year, but continued to invest in the business. Three years later, he quit his managerial job at $17 an hour, and his 21 vending machines now bring in more than $300,000 a year.

Design jewelry, t-shirts and other forms of clothing

Your creativity itself can be lucrative, if you are able to attract the right audience.

In 2016, Nicole Toci, who owns a tanning salon in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, has started removing buttons from Chanel clothes and turning them into necklaces. She launched a website for her side business at the end of 2020 and now earns up to $41,000 a month from it.

Tocci knew the necklaces would be a hit with people like her salon clients, who were already interested in designer clothes. It only takes her 15 to 20 hours a week to research, make and list the jewelry online, starting in November 2022.

These types of side businesses don’t need to feature fancy designer brands. In 2014, ryan hogue was making $85,000 a year as a full-time web developer when he started looking for a second source of income. He decided to design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts — a relatively simple job, he thought, since third-party vendors would handle the printing, packaging and shipping.

He designed and sold t-shirts on sites like All Sunsets, Creative Fabrica and Vexels before moving to Amazon. Business took off after learning to keep up with trends on the platform, helping him design shirts that would sell out quickly based on demand.

By 2020, he was earning enough to quit his full-time job. Now he earns $14,600 a month working just one hour a day.

“I want people to know that they don’t need a degree in graphic design to be successful in the print-on-demand business,” Hogue wrote for CNBC Make It in November. “They just need a bit of creativity and a lot of drive.”

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